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Soundproofing Gone Wrong

What To Do When You Suspect Faulty Underlayment Installation

If you’ve ever lived in an apartment, you know how irritating it can be to hear the footsteps, voices, music, and other ambient noises of surrounding neighbors. Luckily for apartment developers, sound abatement systems have been designed specifically to help combat this problem. In many states, like California, soundproofing isn’t just a nice add-on, but rather a requirement. For tenants, a properly installed sound abatement system can mean the difference between a good night’s sleep or none at all.

Let’s pretend for a moment that you’ve just moved into a brand new apartment building. In fact, you are one of the first tenants. The apartment has beautiful hardwood floors and an incredible view of the city. At first you were a little skeptical about having wood floors. Yes, they are aesthetically pleasing – but wouldn’t they be noisy? If every apartment has hardwood floors, won’t I be hearing the footsteps of my neighbors all the time? When addressing your concerns with the selling agent, she immediately put your worries to rest by informing you that a sound control underlayment was installed beneath the wood flooring – so noises wouldn’t be a problem. The first few months in your new apartment go smoothly. However, as more tenants move in, you start to notice that noise is becoming an issue. The person living above you likes to run on his treadmill at 5 am – nothing like waking up to the thumping of running feet! Likewise, you’re always hearing the loud music coming from the tenant in the apartment directly below you. You start to question whether or not the selling agent knew what she was talking about when she told you the hardwood wouldn’t cause noise issues. After all, a selling point of this building was the fact that the floors had been sound-proofed. What is going on? What can you do?

Failure of Apartment Developer to Use a Qualified Installer

If you find yourself in the above situation, the first thing to do is go to the landlord and verify that a sound abatement system was in fact installed. He/she should know the answer to this question or be able to find out from the apartment developer. It is important to keep in mind that improper installation of underlayment can severely diminish the acoustical value of the product. If you’re experiencing excessive noise in an area where sound abatement was supposedly used, it may be a result of faulty installation. Here are a few common mistakes that can cause problems:

  • Failure of apartment developer to use a qualified installer.
  • Mechanically fastening the underlayment to the subfloor. (Don’t nail through or in other ways puncture the sound underlayment. This will negate its effectiveness.)
  • Forgetting to tape the seams of the underlayment to prevent sound from traveling through it.
  • Failure to make sure the subfloor is flat, resulting in undulations that cause noises in the flooring.

What to do When You Suspect Faulty Underlayment Installation

If you’ve been the victim of soundproofing gone wrong in the Los Angeles area, we’d like to introduce you to Universal Inspection & Dispute Resolution, LLC. It’s never too late to take control of the situation. Contact us today for a no-obligation assessment of your unique situation.

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